(Editors Note: On Nov. 12, faith, immigrant rights, and labor leaders launched the “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on the National Mall. The following remarks are from Jim's speech given at the event.)
Despite the overwhelming public support — among all political stripes — to fix our broken immigration system, Washington's utter political dysfunction is blocking change.
It is time to pray and fast for a change that now feels like a "miracle." And that's what we now pray for. Pray against the racial fears and messages that are being used against immigration reform. Pray for courage and character on all sides — for Republicans who believe in an inclusive party and nation to stand up to Republicans who want an exclusive party and nation and for Democrats not to use this as a political issue for their self-interest. Pray for political leaders to do what few of them do well — to put other people's needs, especially poor and vulnerable people's needs, ahead of their own political agendas.
For people of faith this is not a political issue, but a moral one. And for Christians, how we treat 11 million undocumented people, the "strangers" among us, is how we treat Christ himself.
As a white man, as an evangelical Christian, it’s time to pray against the racism that is used to block the future of this country. You work like everything depends on you and you pray like everything depends on God. We’re here to say that this depends on God. So we fast and pray to break the spiritual hold that political dysfunction, political self-interest, and racialized politics have over the common good and the future of this country. To break that hold, to heal this nation, we pray to the Lord.